Hows it going everyone? I hope everyone has had an awesome and promising start to the New Year!
With that being said and this being my first blog; as well as first time being a part of such an influential community/collective of people; i would like to give you all a brief introduction of who I am. My name is Jason Fernandez, born and raised in the “305”. I’m the eldest son of 4 offspring to Jesus and Lisset Fernandez. I have too many passions for my own good: djing, volleyball, mechanics, arts, and lastly; the ocean. My initial love for what we all have in common, the ocean; came from frequent Party Boat night trips for kingfish and snappers out of Govt. Cut aboard “The Blue Sea II”. It snowballed from there…to my mothers worry and refusal lol. Always worrying, its a latin thing.
Fast Forward to Dec 31, 2014
New Years Eve, my family and I were invited to Dans cousins house to partake in the festivities and eat our share of a 60 lb. pig that had been getting happy for 8 hours. We all gladly obliged. Spirits were high, spirits were mixed on ice and pant buttons and belts were loosened from seconds and even third helpings. Tunes were pumping long into the night…
By this time majority of the invited guests, as well as my parents, had long been home and the aftermath of the prior event had already been discarded as if it had never happened. Wrapping up my last set of cables, I glance over at Dan and my little brother and ask “Are we fishing or what?”, to which Dan replied “Damn man, Im down but also tired as hell…let me check the tides”. I looked at my little brother Lared, who’s 13 and already growing facial hair; and he had a look in his eye that carried over from the previous week when we tried getting hime his first red fish on fly ever. After loading my equipment into the bed of my truck and a few minutes of deliberation it came down to a proven method for our past success…a coin flip. 3 out of 5 to be exact. You can already guess the verdict.
My little bro and I arrive to my house just minutes after the verdict, unload the equipment, change into more appropriate fishing attire and go outside to load my canoe for what was to be the best way to ring in the New Year. Once loaded and under way, we made our typical stops for beverages, food, fuel and ice. All the while i had this underlying anxiousness of wanting to beat the sun on the first day of the year.
Once at Florida City, couldn’t help but notice a heavy fog. A way Heavier fog than usual. I make a pitstop at a local landmark Dions and am greeted by Benny Blanco. A well know and sought after guide in Florida Bay. We exchanged a few words about our previous couple of hours and possible opportunities for fishing given the tide and heavy fog conditions. We wished each other luck and a great start to the new year and we were off! In the park, the fog was serious…a couple yards of visibility serious. We finally make it to the marina, unload, launch and make it out of the idle zone to see what looked like a canal system blanketed in thick dense fog due to the extreme low tide. Flats out of the water as much as 3 to 4 inches. No way to run aground this morning…
After a short 15 min canoe ride we stage up at our juvenile poon spot. Unhooking the fly from the buggy whip to swap for a batifish pattern we were surrounded by tarpon of various sizes. Granted I only had an 8wt, the obvious choice was to aim small. After tying on finger sized morsel, I drop it in the water to check his stride. With 10 ft of leader in the water I look down and begin to strip out line to make my first cast and see out of the corner of my eye a juvi poon roll on it and miss. My little bro on the bow says “Holy sh!t, did you se that?” …”yup”. I cast out the head of my line down current…strip…strip…strip
07:46 am Juvi poon!
I couldn’t have asked for a better first fish of the new year and to do it with my little bro.
Once landed, memory captured and safely released I came to the realization the fish had shut down and possibly moved away from us. I hand my little bro the fun stick and motored up to get him up on the bow.
We poled and searched for a willing participant for about 2 hours to no avail. So we switched positions and I let him twist the go handle and take us to some tailers.
Another 15-20 minute boat ride and we were ready. We switched places once again and he took the bow with purpose and intent to complete a mission. I must have poled him to 15 different fish until he realized he had the goods to get it done. Mid-slot tailing read at 11 out 40 ft. Good head shot within a foot and a hungry fish charging…
Success, but could it be?!
Jack on fly! This was the boost…he knew the red liked what he did but the jack was faster. Boat rules are a switch so I did my best to make quick work of the next opportunity. Not to mention it gave him the opportunity to learn how to pole for the first time!
The kids a natural and he poled me to my first red of the year. Love ya bro! This brought the last switch of the day…
“Tailer…10 o’clock…80 yds…this is your fish”. Within 20 feet he made his first cast, a great shot. Spooked a jack neither of us saw that stirred up the red for a brief few seconds. We stared at the water like it was Adriana Lima, looking for a body…my bro whispered “right there 15 feet” I whisper back “get down slow and take your shot”… false cast, head on shot within a foot of its face. The fish charged it like Dan at a corn dog heater at the Florida City RaceTrac! A strong strip-strike and BRINGO!! LIFT HIS HEAD!
“Tell ’em how it tastes Steve!”
Finally back at the ramp, loaded and heading home; I silently began to reflect on wtf just happened. Needless to say I’m grateful beyond words to have done it with my little brother next to me and experience his moment of triumph. Because in the end the trip was for him, and he owned it.
When it hit us…”self explanatory”.
Until next time, tight lines and god bless. -Pk